“Today I shall be one run stronger.”
If you run, you’re a runner.
I run. Slow. But I run.
I don’t run great distances. But I run.
If someone had told me three years ago that I would one day be addicted to running, I’d have laughed. Hard. But running has become my form of active meditation.
I started out walking trails in my community and fell in love with being outdoors, walking alone along a wooded trail, just me and my thoughts. Then I heard about John Stanton’s run/walk technique and began to incorporate small runs into my routine.
Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute.
Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.
It worked and it felt great, but it wasn’t easy. I suffer from digestive issues and once I hit a certain point in my training, I became sick. I would have to switch to a liquid diet, give up my run/walks and build my health and stamina back up again. Every time.
It was incredibly frustrating. Running had become my way to deal with anxiety and stress, to relieve a lot of tension, and to just get time alone to reboot. I happened to mention it to my doctor during a regular visit and he told me that running means your body has to put its resources into your leg muscles and pulls blood from your digestive system in order to cope with the additional strain to your muscles. He suggested I give up on trying to accomplish long distance running, and to focus on keeping with the run/walk technique and/or shorter distances until I found a balance that worked for me.
It was a lot of trial and error, trying to find a distance/time long enough that I felt I had an adequate workout, but not one so long that I suffered the digestive consequences.
Today I stick with the run/walk technique, running more than walking, and I keep the distance to 10K or less. My regular sessions are between 3 and 5K which are short enough that I can squeeze them into my schedule without making excuses (along with Pilates and resistance training on off days).
I’m happy to say I’ve signed up for and completed a few 5K runs now, and completed a few virtual 10K runs. I struggle with speed so have yet to register for an official timed 10K, but I’ve got my eyes on one in particular so that will be my next milestone. In the meantime, I work on speed and technique so when that day comes, I’ll be at my best and can put in a time that I can be happy with.
So I may not be a marathon runner, but I run. And I am stronger today than I was yesterday because of it. Mentally and physically.